The vacation is over



THOSE of us who have been operating flight training flights from the Island for a while know the last year and a half has been a different experience to the years prior. As far as real estate goes, CYTZ is a very small airport and Porter Airlines took up most of the room. So those of us operating single engine piston planes got to be pretty good at staying out of the way of the Q400’s and using the runway when ATC would squeeze us in between airline arrivals and departures.

The impact on training operations were several-fold: there would be queues for departure, plenty of wake turbulence advisories and restrictions, extended downwinds when in the circuit to make room for a Porter arrival or departure and lots of additional instructions coming at you, to boot. Oftentimes, for example, you’d be told to widen out, or extend your downwind, followed just a few seconds later with a command to “turn an immediate base, keep it in tight behind the dash 8”.

Well, for the last year and half we’ve been excused all those challenges, as Porter has been grounded. Now that they’re back in service we have to go back to being that much more alert, skilful and adaptable in and around the airport environment.

If you’re one of my current students you probably started flying after the start of the pandemic, so you’ve never had to deal with these challenges. If so, then listen up: things are getting back to another, different normal. Slowly at first, as I understand Porter are running only 30% of the maximum possible schedule, but I’m sure that things will be ramping up soon.

The positive side of learning to fly alongside a busy airline operation is that you emerge with extra competence and confidence in busy terminal environments, a skill that can’t really learned at a very quiet uncontrolled rural aerodrome.

You’ll also get used to sharing the ferry with those extremely large fuel tankers that deliver the Jet-A to Porter.

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